Hi! I’m Clemmie and I’m a second year studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics, but I spend most of my time in the Politics Department. So you’ve got your offer (congrats) and now you’re wondering what university is actually going to be like and what your department has in store. Well, here are a few things I think are really worth getting excited about:
The staff in the Politics department are genuinely so supportive and really ready to help you out. They hold regular office hours, and will do other times if you arrange it with them. They will sit with you and explain things you don’t understand until you’re happy with it.
If you find something that really interests you, they’ll suggest extra reading and other places you can look for material (including Keynes vs Hayek rap battles on YouTube, and slightly dark comedies about Brazil…). The point is that the staff really make an effort to get to know you. You’re not just a member of the class; you’ll be seen as an individual.
If like me you have no idea what you want to do after university, no worries; or if you have a plan then that’s great! Either way, the Career support here is amazing. There’s a dedicated member of staff just for the department and they work really hard. Every week or so they send out emails with internship opportunities and careers events that might be relevant to our degree.
One of the best things you can do here is a placement year; you can go abroad or work in a company getting real work experience in something you enjoy. The choice doesn’t have to be university vs. getting work experience because this scheme lets you do both. The staff (again) are super supportive and regularly check in on you to see how applications are going, and to offer tips on your CV and interview technique. They’ll help give you the best chances possible in a career you want to pursue.
Let’s be honest, lectures aren’t going to be as amazing as a Beyoncé concert or a Russell Kane gig, and you’ll also be looking to socialise and unwind. Well, there are some really awesome societies aimed at students in the Department of Politics. Politics Society (PolSoc) runs weekly events like movie screenings, bar socials and live election nights. For the US midterms they booked out D-bar and ran a screening with a panel; it was crazy how many people turned up and it created a fantastic atmosphere.
If that’s not your thing then there are also summer balls, winter formals and a trip abroad each year. Last year was Brussels and this time they’re taking on Prague. The trips are a time to be yourself and explore new cities, and they’re not too expensive which is a bonus.
If you feel really passionate about a topic you’re studying or something in the news, why not write about it and get published? Vox is technically a joint Politics, Economics and Philosophy department journal but lots of the people who write for it are based in the Politics Department. It’s a fantastic opportunity to engage with a topic in more depth and looks great on your CV.
Campus is so darn beautiful
Technically this is a fourth reason, but it’s also not Politics specific. One of the best things about York is just how beautiful it is. The Politics department is based in Derwent College, a now listed block of brutalist concrete. But with this degree you end up doing lectures all over campus and the place genuinely looks and feels like a park. Okay, so there are the infamous geese, but you come to see them as an angry friend; you don’t really want to approach them all the time and they may look like they want to kill you, but really they’re quite friendly and you’d miss them if they weren’t there. There’s water everywhere, countless trees and places to sit outside. In summer, PolSoc organise a BBQ on the lawn by Heslington Hall and it’s one of the best bits of the year. Just to sit there, drink and chat with your friends in the sun.